By Julie Bolcer
Originally published on Advocate.com February 15 2010 10:55 AM ET
Activists assembled by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala met secretly in Uganda on Sunday to launch their campaign against the antigay bill pending in parliament.
According to the Uganda newspaper The Monitor, “The Unitarian Universalist Church of Kampala, one of the few religious organizations in Uganda that is supporting the gay community, held a conference on Sunday to 'highlight the need for an end to discriminatory treatment of the gay population in Uganda.”
The website of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations offers more information about the goals of the conference, which was expected to draw more than 200 people.
According to the UUA, the conference aimed “to achieve permanent, fundamental, real equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people by affecting fundamental changes in the attitudes of society; to defeat discriminatory legislation and exclusionary policies and practices; and to build a strong social movement of BGLT people with a fully representative and activist base.”
Participants were scheduled to include the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar (pictured), minister of the partner church, All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Okla., and the Rev. Patricia Ackerman, BGLT advocacy director for the UU-United Nations Office. Religious leaders from Uganda and as far away as France also were expected.
Also on Sunday, according to The Monitor, police in Uganda tried to halt a demonstration planned for Wednesday in support of the antigay bill. Officials said the government still has some issues to “sort out.”